ROME (Reuters) - Juventus coach Maurizio Sarri bristled at the suggestion he has never won anything in Italy on Tuesday, pointing out that he has won promotion a number of times in the lower divisions during his 20-year career.
Sarri’s record was under the spotlight again as Juventus prepared to face his former club Napoli in Wednesday’s Coppa Italia final in Rome.
The 61-year-old transformed Napoli during three seasons at the club with a high-tempo passing game dubbed Sarriball.
However, he has never won either Serie A or the Coppa Italia and when his Chelsea side won the Europa League last season, it was widely proclaimed as the first major trophy of his career.
“It annoys me when people say I’ve never won anything in Italy,” he told a news conference.
“I’ve won promotion on the pitch from almost every division, from the sixth tier to Serie A, and that’s a difficult path to take. I’m happy with what I’ve achieved.
“Of course, there’s a big desire to win a trophy but that is for the fans and for all of us. I’m not thinking about the past.”
Sarri won promotion in Italy’s regional leagues with Cavriglia and then Antella during the 1990s, led Sansovino from the sixth to the fourth tier in the space of three seasons, Sangiovannese to the third division in 2004 and Empoli into Serie A in 2014.
However, winning trophies is seen almost as an obligation at Juventus, who have dominated Italian football for the last decade.
“Working in an environment which is used to winning is more difficult but victory must never be taken for granted,” said Sarri. “It is always an exceptional event.”
Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Toby Davis